Plant Pressing Tips!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Every time I share photos of my pressed plants I get a few questions on my methods. I'm not extremely skilled at pressing plants. I get my fair share of ones that need thrown away because they don't really look all that pretty. I'm all about experimenting with what I'm pressing and how I do it. There is no wrong way to do it unless of course, you're not getting the results you want. But here are some tips for pressing plants that I've learned through trial and error and some information on what I use.

My supplies and method :
I always keep a notebook in my camera bag for pressing plants. No matter where you go there is always an opportunity to find something pretty to press. I like these moleskin notebooks. I'm currently using a generic version I bought at Target when I really needed one but couldn't wait on ordering one. You, of course, can use a larger notebook but I like that this size is compact and fits in my back pocket when I'm out exploring. Another thing I looked for when purchasing a pressing notebook is one that has a strap to keep it closed so my plants aren't falling out all over my bag.
 When I get home I always try to empty my notebook so I have lots of room in case I hit the jackpot next time I step outside. Your specimens will most likely dry just fine if you leave them in your small notebook (I've had more than a few I forgot about dry in there that turned out great) but for the best results I recommend doing this next step.

After I've emptied out my findings for the day I transfer all the plants to my dining room table where I sandwich them between layers of paper towels and then stack heavy books on top. I leave them like this for a week or so. Every specimen is different and the drying time really depends on how big, how fresh, and what it is. Feel free to check on the progress of your plant at any time during the drying process.

If you have more plants at one time to press than what will fit on the paper towel you're going to need to make layers of books and paper towels. It should be like this - table, paper towel, plants, paper towel, book, paper towel, plants, paper towel, book and so on. It's definitely okay to put more than one specimen or kind of specimen per paper towel sandwich. But try not too put big juicy plants with small nearly dry ones or the moisture from the big one may compromise the quality of the small one.
 After they've dried completely you're free to do whatever you'd like with them. I move mine to another notebook (here's a similar one to what I use) and tape down my plants with some washi tape. I tape them down because it holds them in place, looks nice and keeps them organized but also so I can remove them if I ever want to use them for another project. The ones that don't get organized in the notebook are sandwiched between new dry paper towel layers and stored between pages of books.

 Make sure to store your finished plants in a cool, dry place.
Some tips:
Press your plants immediately. I always find it best to press things as soon as I find them or pick them.
Press the prettiest! Let me state the obvious here, your plant isn't going to get any prettier after being pressed! Make sure you choose the one from the bunch that is healthiest looking, and doesn't have any physical defects.
Press fresh things. You really don't want to press plants that are already dry or dead, they'll just crumble.
Remember that however you put them in your notebook is how they're going to look when they're done. Arrange all stems, leaves and other parts exactly how you want them to be when they're dry before you close up your notebook or sandwich them between paper towels.
• Make sure your specimen is dry to the touch. Carefully wipe off any moisture before pressing.
Use paper towels that are flat and do not have a bumpy design on them or else that design will be imprinted on your plants like the flower below.
Oops!
Easy plants to start with:
Leaves of any sort.  Just make sure they're not wrinkly to begin with.
Ferns. Ferns are probably the easiest thing to press and they almost always turn out pretty. 
I think I covered everything. Like I mentioned in the beginning of the post, flower pressing is all about trial and error, after a little bit of practice you'll have your own routine that works for you. Let me know if you have any other questions!
xoxo

36 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips. I've been meaning to have a go at pressing for ages - I figure they'd look really pretty on cards, and maybe even wrapping paper. Good time to start with all these pretty autumn colours around.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post! I haven't pressed plants in ages, but my mom used to keep a photo album filled with things we'd find out hiking. I should start again..

    ReplyDelete
  3. these are so pretty. I have always like the idea of keeping a notebook of feathers I find when I am out and about. I think you have just inspired me to actually do it, thank you! x

    http://enidtwiglet.blogspot.com.au/

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lovely tips! I've been wanting to start regularly pressing plants for ages, so far I only have a couple from trips abroad.

    ReplyDelete
  5. too much text for me) I usually look only your photos, but do not read. But I love your blog! With love from Russia))

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was just recently introduced to this awesome thing called the Microfluer that dries leaves and flowers, etc. Basically it is a press that you use in your microwave that presses and dries plants within mere seconds. It's great because unlike other drying products that I've seen that use silica gel, there are no replacement parts. Once you have the contraption you are set to make as many dried leaves as you want. It leaches the moisture out of the leaves. My sister said bulky flowers don't press that well. Also, the woman who first introduced it to me has been using hers for over 10 years and still have preserved leaves from that long ago. Unlike when you press leaves in a book, these leaves don't get dry and brittle. I posted about it here: http://www.robayre.com/news/2012/10/23/12-hour-craft-extravaganza-and-fall-leaf-garland/

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks so much for sharing this! I've been so excited to see your process.

    ReplyDelete
  8. These tips are great! I can't wait to go out and find some plants to press!!

    <3 Melissa
    wildflwrchild.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. These are great tips! I've just started pressing recently and it's nice to know that there isn't any "right" way to do it. Your pressings are so pretty, too! This post makes me want to start doing it more regularly :)

    ♥ Brooke
    http://youreinbrookelynn.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  10. I like to hang flowers upside down to dry them out, it preserves their shape and they get a bit darker but a bouquet of dry roses can be really pretty. I just tape them upside down to a wall and I can see their progress in drying out

    ReplyDelete
  11. Those would be great for framing as art!

    http://bethsquidly.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Kaylah! Thank you so much for choosing me as the lucky winner of Rachael's giveaway and also for linking to my blog. You gals have made my day and I honestly cannot thank you both enough.

    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you so much for the tips :) Hopefully I can try my hand at pressing soon!

    Caleisha
    apt-203.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. amazing tips! I'm sort of sad I missed out on dressing flowers this spring/summer, I thought I had a good idea to press them in my airing cupboard but they went brown and shrunk up. Boo!!


    chloe.

    ReplyDelete
  15. thanks for tips! I put my fresh specimens between recycled brown paper bags and then like you, I also stack heavy books on top! ferns are really pretty but Boston ferns and the like are very fragile when dried, they shed their leaves easily. the other species are fine though!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yes! I've been waiting for this post! Thanks so much, I think that covered all of my previous questions and then some. I'm excited to try it out again. Paper towels is definitely the way to go since mine always seem to have too much moisture and end up getting moldy, also I supposed tissue paper isn't the best method, I used it because I skimmed something online about it. I can't wait to try again and we have two ferns in our backyard that I can't wait to pick from :)

    xomando

    ReplyDelete
  17. Beautiful. I love to press them on my journal. it is such a beautiful thing to come back to an old page and be pleasantly surprised by them.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love this post! I recently saw a flower press in a charity shop, and I have no idea why I didn't buy it! I might just have to go back :) xxx

    rrecommends.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've been doing this passively for years, but it's an on and off thing. Thanks for the reminder of what a beautiful hobby this can be. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Awesome tips, thanks! I already press leaves during the fall for Halloween decorations, but would love to get into pressing flowers. I'd like to try out making collaged images of things with the leaves and flowers (like animals and such). I think that'd be neat! Anyway, thanks again for the tips! :)

    - Sasha
    www.lacewinged.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for those tips! I'm totally going out tomorrow to get some leaves and flowers for pressing!
    -Kati

    ReplyDelete
  22. These are awesome! I have heard that hanging them upside down works or putting them in phone books or spraying them with hair spray will preserve them and I've tried everything except using paper towels!

    I'm going to try it and see how it works, though it's really hard to find paper towels that don't have patterns on them!

    Sara
    http://saraivy.org

    ReplyDelete
  23. So cool! I've always wanted to get into pressing plants. Thanks for sharing your method ;)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I stumbled upon these floral x-rays by Brendan Fitzpatrick the other day and thought of you. http://thisiscolossal.com/?s=floral+x-rays

    And thank you for sharing your methods. I collected and pressed flowers when I was in 8th grade for a biology assignment, and seeing your pretty notebooks made me want to start again, but I couldn't remember how my teacher had shown us to do it. I'll definitely be starting up again soon.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I used to press flowers with my Granny as a young child. I have a couple of old bookmarks we made with them still! So beautiful! Your post brought back a lot of lovely memories for me. :-)

    Great tips too!

    Victoria xx
    irisandevelyn.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you for the wonderful tips! I've been attempting to press plants for most of the year, and these are super helpful. Sadly, I live in the desert and there's not many pretty plants for me to press :c

    ReplyDelete
  27. Ooh, thanks for the tips!
    My mom and I have always pressed leaves from when we'd travel to the mountains during fall, but I'd like to get flowers and other things too. Your collection rocks!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Just got back from a nice walk with my son, rushed on the laptop to read your post, because i saw it few days ago and i just picked some pretty leaves. so i knew where to go to get some advice for beginners like me :D thanks for sharing! btw i LOVELOVELOVE cats. I have one, her name is Mila and she is alsmot 15 yo O_o I had to leave her with my folks though because I was moving to USA. Miss her every day! :(

    ReplyDelete
  29. This was such a cute tutorial and tip for saving pretty plants. I love reading all your posts! Mentioned this one on my blog recently, too :) http://tinyurl.com/cvs2avh

    ReplyDelete
  30. Love this post, very helpfull!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Awesome post! This might be kind of silly, but what do you do with the plants after they're dry? Plant pressing seems right up my alley, but I don't want to hoard dried plants... :-/

    ReplyDelete
  32. This was so helpful as I'm about to embark on flower pressing myself!

    ohhomesweethome.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! I love reading what's on your mind! :)

 

All photographs and text on this blog are property of Kaylah Doolan/The Dainty Squid unless otherwise noted.
Although The Dainty Squid contains paid advertisements and relevant affiliate links all opinions are mine.
Blog Design by Nudge Media Design | Powered by Blogger